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CSULB will lead the CSU’s new Center to Close the Opportunity Gap

Published May 4, 2020

Following a highly competitive selection process, Cal State Long Beach has been chosen as the host site for the CSU Center to Close the Opportunity Gap (CCOG), a system-wide effort to study and eliminate achievement gaps at all levels of education.  

With a one-time state allocation of $3 million, the Center is slated to open in Spring 2020 and will operate within the College of Education under the leadership of Dean Shireen Pavri. 

“CSULB is uniquely positioned to house this state-wide Center,” Dean Pavri said. “The goal is to provide resources and assistance to education partners, to improve the capacity of teachers, education specialists, and school administrators, and ultimately, eliminate gaps in academic achievement. The work of the CCOG extends CED’s vision to promote equity and excellence in education.”

Candidate institutions were assessed in part for their capacity to develop and maintain the Center – a strength that CSULB and the CED have demonstrated on numerous fronts. CSULB was one of three lead campuses for the first CSU Center to Close the Opportunity Gap in 2010 and has twice received the U.S. Department of Education’s Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI-STEM) and Articulation Programs grant, si puedo. Through Project Caminos, Title V DHSI teacher preparation grant, the CED is growing the pipeline of LatinX and low-income teacher candidates. 

The selection criteria also included campus graduation rates, another area where CSULB shines. This spring, CSULB was recognized by EdSource as having the greatest graduation rate gains of all CSU campuses. This progress stems from the Highly Valued Degree Initiative (HVDI) 2025, the CSU’s system-wide plan to increase graduation rates, eliminate equity gaps in degree completion and meet California's workforce needs. The campus is close to meetings its goals of graduating 39% of freshmen within four years and 77% within six years.

CSULB’s capacity to implement and share effective practices among CSU campuses and education partners was another factor for selection.

“CSULB ranks first in the CSU in preparing future educators for the state,” Dean Pavri said. “The CCOG will build upon our existing partnerships with over 85 school districts, 15 community colleges, and multiple regional community non-profits and mental health agencies.”

The CED will devote the time of two faculty leads Dr. Corinne Martinez, Chair of the Department of Liberal Studies and Associate Professor of Teacher Education, and Dr. Cara Richards-Tutor, Professor of Special Education, who have developed and coordinated large federal and regional grant efforts, and five affiliated faculty to the CCOG. Graduate Students and Ed.D. Fellows will support research and information dissemination.

Their research will focus on preparing educators with effective instructional practices, effective school leadership practices, effective local educational agency leadership practices, and the use of data and continuous improvement strategies. 

Their work will serve local educational agencies through an online clearinghouse for evidence-based strategies and promising practices. Further dissemination will be done through state conferences, county office presentations and research publications. The CCOG will also host webinars to provide key evidence-based practices to stakeholders throughout California. Finally, the CCOG will host an annual educator summit to build an in-person community around their work and provide professional development.

The ambitious project may be one of the most vital to the future of education in California, but as their track record proves, creating an equitable future for all learners is well within the wheelhouse of CSULB and the College of Education.